Ian Gitten's first sight of his team this term and how Chris Mudd is developing the squad must have been very pleasing for the head coach to witness.
Joe Newton-Taylor, Dave Ackerley and Jason Milner were in the front row and Tom Sims and Tom Hine were at lock, making up a familiar front 5 with Andy McFadden, Luke Staton and Ad Nettel in the back row.
Jake Green was playing his first senior match of the season at scrum half, following an injury in August that has left the talented youngster on the sidelines for much of the season so far. He joined Gary McDermott at half back. Shane Dicker and Simon Drew were at centre with George Hunt and Nick Palmer on the wings and Sam Hunt at full back.
The game kicked off with a mistake for Leek as they failed to gather the kick. It led to a brace of 5 metre scrums for the visitors in the opening 4 minutes, but they couldn't retain possession at the base of the scrum and the alert Leek back row pounced on the ball for Sam Hunt to clear. It was to be the nearest Shrewsbury came to scoring a try as Leek then made their way up field.
On 7 minutes, Leek won a penalty for not releasing in the tackle and the long range kick from Sam Hunt just crept over the bar to open the scoring at 3-0.
Hunt had another chance to double the lead as Shrewsbury dropped the next scrummage but the kick went wide before on 15 minutes, McDermott kicked deep into the Shrewsbury 22. The ball was fielded by the Shrewsbury left wing, whose clearance kick found Jake Green on half way. he jinked past one defender before passing outside to Shane Dicker. The big centre got into top gear quickly and his 40 metre run brushed past 3 tackles before he touched down near the posts to allow Sam Hunt to kick the extras and increase the lead to 10-0.
From the kick off, Leek was penalised for handling in the ruck and a well struck penalty reduced the arrears for Shrewsbury at 3-10.
Leek's 2nd try on 25 minutes was fortuitous after Nick Palmer was bundled into touch on Shrewsbury's 5 metre line following great work by the forwards.
The Shrews hooker overthrew the ball and Ad Nettel at the back of the Leek line knocked the ball over the Shrewsbury line in his attempt to catch it. He quickly followed up to touchdown and the referee awarded the score having been unsighted for the knock on. Sam Hunt converted and Leek was up to 17-3.
On 34 minutes, Leek was pressing again and Green kicked a penalty to the 5 metre line of Shrewsbury. The Leek line won clean ball in the middle and Jason Milner drove over for his score from the resultant maul. Hunt converted and the score rose to 24-3.
From the kick off, Leek's forwards retained the ball and drove into the Shrews half. mauling and then breaking down the blind side, Jake Green jinked around 3 players before sprinting for the corner to score a great try. Hunt's conversion missed but at 29-3 and the 4th try up, Leek had won the try scoring bonus point before half time.
From the 2nd half kick off, George Hunt pounced on the loose ball on Shrewsbury's 10 metre line and the Leek forwards drove the maul to the visitors 5 meter line. The ball was moved to McDermott whose switch back inside pass found Joe Taylor and the big prop was forced over the line with his forwards behind him. Sam Hunt's conversion was good. 36-3.
On 48 minutes, arguably Leek's best try of the day came from a lineout 30 metres from Shrewsbury's line. A swift catch and pass, saw the Leek backs execute a neat move in midfield. Sam Hunt joined the line and his pass to Nick Palmer allowed the right wing to sprint in for a great score. Hunt's conversion missed but Leek was up to 41-3.
Ed Harrison came on for Tom Hine at lock and Ollie drew replaced brother Simon Drew on the wing.
Ad Nettel looked to have scored another try on 62 minutes, but was deemed to have been held up. The resultant scrum saw Leek make use of a series of rucks and mauls before the unrelenting pressure yielded a gap on the left side for Ad Nettel to score his 2nd try. The conversion missed. 46-3.
There followed a period of play when Shrewsbury could have scored as they retained possession and made the Leek 22 but a great tackle from George Hunt saw the ball knocked forward.
Tom Bourne came into prop as Joe Taylor moved to lock following the departure of Tom Sims.
Still Shrewsbury continued to attack now and the promising full back made a neat break. However the ball was dislodged from his grasp by Luke Staton, on 82 minutes. Luke hacked the ball on and the alert Leek backs kicked on again and George Hunt retained possession in the Shrewsbury 22. Quick ball wide and Shane Dicker ran in from 20 metres to secure Leek's 8th try. Sam Hunt converted and Leek had a 53-3 win to celebrate.
With results going in their favour, Leek jumped 3 places, but with such a tight group of teams in the mix, every week sees a change in the positions. Stoke scored another 50 points as they beat Dixonians, but with Stafford and Tamworth losing, Moseley Oak and Spartans moved into the mid table mix with Bridgnorth who won for the 1st time in 5 games.
Shrewsbury's loss sees them anchored to the foot of the table.
Next week is a non league Saturday and Leek will travel to Newcastle for a friendly match.
Leek's next league match is on Saturday, December 3rd, when the Moorlanders make the short trip to Stafford. Kick off is at 2.15pm and your support will be appreciated.
Leek's last home league game before the Christmas break is on Saturday, December 10th, when Moseley Oak are the visitors to F Ball Ball. Kick off is at 2.15pm